In the world of college football, tradition often runs deep. And traditionally, American Football is a male-dominated sport where women rarely get a chance to showcase their skills. However, Haley Van Voorhis is changing the game, breaking gender barriers with grace and determination.
In fact, the Shenandoah University safety is creating history in the process, becoming the first female non-kicker to take part in an NCAA football game on Saturday against Juniata. She was instrumental in defense and helped Shenandoah notch up a victory with a lopsided 48-7 scoreline.
Meet the history-maker Haley Van Voorhis
Standing at a compact 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing in at 145 pounds, Haley Van Voorhis, a tenacious junior, has been making waves in the world of college football. Her journey to this point has been marked by perseverance and dedication, as she spent the previous two seasons sharpening her skills on the junior varsity squad.
A proud native of Plains, Virginia, Van Voorhis is a product of Christchurch High School, where her football prowess earned her the prestigious title of 2019 all-state honorable mention. Unfortunately, her senior season fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, robbing her of the opportunity to further showcase her talents on the gridiron.
Beyond her accomplishments, Van Voorhis is a multifaceted athlete, also distinguishing herself as a valuable member of Shenandoah University’s track and field team. In the realm of track and field, she excels in sprinting, showcasing her versatility and athletic prowess on and off the gridiron.
Van Voorhis reacts to tremendous feat
Reflecting on her tremendous feat after the game, Van Voorhis revealed, “It’s an amazing thing. I just wanted to get out and do my thing. I want to show other people this is what women can do, to show what I can do. It’s a big moment. I made the impossible possible, and I’m excited about that.”
In an interview with ESPN back in 2021, Haley Van Voorhis had addressed concerns about her being one of the few females in the entire sport.
“There’s definitely people out there who see the story and think, ‘This girl’s going to get hurt'”, she said. “I hear that a lot. Or, ‘She’s too small, doesn’t weigh enough, not tall enough.’ But I’m not the shortest on my team, and I’m not the lightest.”
Her coach, Shenandoah’s Scott Yoder revealed more about Haley’s feats in an interview.
“What has really helped me has been when you peel everything back it’s about a young person who wants an opportunity, who works for it and has earned an opportunity.”, he said. “For 21 years I’ve been fortunate to be on the coaching side of that. And at the core of this, it’s no different.”
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